Lucchino, Cherington talk Valentine and his replacement as Red Sox manager
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and general manager Ben Cherington sat down with media outlets individually Thursday at Fenway Park instead of holding a traditional press conference following manager Bobby Valentine’s firing. Here’s what they told MLB.com.
Would an earlier firing have made a difference?
Larry Lucchino: “Not very much. Our view was that, it’s been pretty consistent, we were going to wait until the end of the season to make any kind of changes or to do any kind of thorough diagnosis. We talked from time to time, but the plan has always been to complete the season.”
Could have changed the way the season was going?
Ben Cherington: “We were trying to diagnose what was going on with the team and looking at a lot of different things. As Larry said, we never really considered changing the manager at that point. We were looking at a lot of different thigns that weren’t going as well as they needed to. There was never any focus on changing the manager at that point.”
How much did communication issues play in?
LL: “We’re not going to get into specific topics or issues or diagnosis of problems. On balance, the record speaks for itself. There are numerous factors that contributed to it and by no means does the blame for this season fall on or exclusively on Bobby Valentine, on him or exclusively on him. We all share some full measure of accountability for the dismal year we presented. I will mention that in the first 10 years we were here under this John Henry and Tom Werner ownership, we have averaged over 92 wins a year for 10 years and none of us is smart enough of skillful enough to keep that going indefinitely. This is an ebb and flow, cyclical kind of business. We just experienced that in full measure.”
How did Bobby take it?
BC: “He took it with a great degree of class and maturity. We delivered the news and had a conversation about a bunch of different things. He handled it very well.”
LL: “I’ve been a part of several managerial changes over the course of my career and I think Bobby Valentine ended it with more dignity and class and constructiveness than anybody I can remember.”
Will Ben be more autonomous in this search than last?
LL: “I think the question is based on a false assumption, it really is. Ben led the search last year. He’s going to lead the search this year. The decision, there will be recommendations made along the way but the decision will ultimately be a consensus decision made by Ben and myself and John and Tom, but Ben will begin the leadership search immediately.”
How wide-ranging will the search be?
BC: “I think we need to, first of all, we’re not prepared to talk about names. It’s too early to do that. We know that there needs to be a bit of a reset with the culture in the clubhouse. We’ve lost too many games for the last seven months of play, Major League play, so that has a sort of wearing down, can have a certain wearing down effect. We need to revitalize the clubhouse, the manager’s part of it — the manager’s not the only part of it — but the manager’s part of it. We need someone to help us accomplish that. A lot of the qualities that we were looking for last year we’ll be looking for again.”
BC: “No, we’ll work hard and judiciously and we’d like to, of course, rather do it in less time than last year. We need to find the right guy, more than anything.”
How much do you look for experience?
BC: “Yeah, we’re at a different point in the team’s evolution compared to last year. At the time last year when we made the decision to hire Bobby, we were fully expecting to contend in 2012. We had a sort of mature roster that we felt like if some things went our way, and we got some breaks, we had a chance to win. So I think in the end experience weighed in our decision. It’ll still be a factor, but the teams at a different point. We’ll see, I don’t think there’s a particular resume blueprint. We got to get into and talk to people and just find the right person for this job and move forward.”
Can you rule out Jason Varitek?
BC: “You know, we’re happy that Jason has joined the organization in the role he’s in. I think he’s enjoyed getting some time away from sort of the daily grind of being in the clubhouse for 12 hours a day, and he’s expressed to me that that’s been good for him. Look forward to working with him in this role for now, and we haven’t discussed anything beyond that.”
What about the coaches?
BC: “I’ll have a chance to talk to the coaches soon, I haven’t done that yet. Nothing to report there.”
LL: “We do think that Bobby may have talked to the coaches, but I don’t know that, you better check.”
But no guarantees for them, then?
BC: I just, I haven’t had a chance to talk to them, so I’ll do that soon.